WASHINGTON – February marked 16 consecutive months of Amtrak ridership growth and was the best February on record with 2,099,010 passengers.
“The ridership increase shows the continued popularity of rail travel and the need for continued investment in passenger rail service,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We anticipate demand for rail travel will increase with the rise of gasoline prices, and Amtrak is prepared to be there for passengers who want to leave the car behind.”
This strong performance is part of a long-term trend that has seen America’s Railroadsm set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY 2010.
Specifically, there was a 7.6 percent increase in riders in February 2011 vs. February 2010, or more than 147,000 passengers. The 16 straight months of ridership growth spans from November 2009 to February 2011 and averages a 6 percent growth rate over this period.
Factors that are contributing to the success of Amtrak include a moderately improved economic environment allowing some recovery of business travel along the Northeast Corridor, sustained high gasoline prices, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, effective marketing campaigns, and the introduction of Wi-Fi on the high-speed Acela Express trains.
The highlights below compare the first five months of current FY 2011 (October 2010-February 2011) to the same period during FY 2010 and show increased Amtrak ridership across the country from coast to coast.